Eight children between the ages of 6 and 12 were among those swept out to sea in Sperlonga, Italy, and later rescued by the lifeguard Labrador dogs

Advertisement
SICS Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio-Tirreno
Credit: SICS Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio-Tirreno/Facebook

Three Labrador retrievers are being hailed as heroes for helping save a group of bathers off an Italian beach.

On Sunday, the trio of canines—Eros, 4, Mira, 5, and Mya, 7—came to the rescue of 14 people after they began struggling about 330 feet off the shore of Sperlonga, according to CNN.

Roberto Gasbarri—the head of Italian rescue dog school SICS's center-south department—told the outlet that the group got in trouble after their inflatables, dinghies, and other equipment struggled to stay afloat in high winds and strong waves. 

Eight children between the ages of 6 and 12 were among those swept out to sea. 

A family member in the group called for help. Three SICS dog units responded and arrived at the scene promptly. It took approximately 15 minutes for the Labradors to bring the group safely back to shore.

SICS Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio-Tirreno
Credit: SICS Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio-Tirreno/Facebook

SICS has 300 dog units patrolling about 30 Italian beaches, with one trainer per pup. 

Gasbarri said these life-saving dogs became a "fundamental" part of lifeguarding in Italy after special lifeguard dog training schools first opened in the country three decades ago. He added that big groups of beachgoers are often too much for a small group of lifeguards to handle alone, so canine lifeguards provide additional companionship and protection.

Labradors, golden retrievers, and Newfoundlands typically receive preference, according to a 2010 AFP report, though all dogs are permitted to attend the schools. Canines that exceed at training are calm under pressure and have impeccable swimming skills.

Webbed feet and water-resistant coats also give pups like Eros, Mira, and Maya an extra edge in the water.

This story originally appeared on people.com